How to dynamically generate download links, which can only be accessed from an email

Posted on 2009-04-24
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I'm planning on distributing my software by providing a download link.
I would like to do it in a such way that only registered customers can access that link.
This is a typical process flow:
1) A potential user enters their name and email information via a Web page
2) A download link is being send to the email address, specified by the user
3) When the user receives an email from the Web site they click on the embedded download link and being directed to the download  Web page, which, otherwise, is not directly accessible.

How is this done (assuming Apache2)

Question by:eugene-g
    LVL 5

    Accepted Solution

    Many ways to skin the cat on this

    1st Way - Have them enter their userid and email with registration, once paid, I genenerated a unique key and sent it to them via email link with url and added the key as a paramenter.  They then received the email, clicked it and downloaded application, and once it was downloaded, my download application would then delete the key I sent them.  Then if they needed another copy, they would hit the page again, reverify themselves, and I send it again with the url and a different unique key.

    2nd Way - Just have a generic link.   Adjust your software for them to enter the registration key to active.  This way you can give trial periods and then shut if off if they dont have the real registration key.  I also put the key into the registry and would check for it on the trial period so they just didnt keep downloading over and over trial versions.

    Depends on how stict you want this... otherwise dont supply a key and just have them download the software and then have your software smart enough for them to enter their unique key.

    Author Comment

    I intent to distribute my software for free, I just need to know the name and the email address of the person who's downloading.
    I would like for the generic download link only to be accessible to those who clicked on the link in their email and not to anyone who navigates to the download page directly.
    Is this done via some directives in the httpd.conf or by some other means?


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